Armed Forces General Staff (Portugal)

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Armed Forces General Staff
Estado-Maior-General das Forças Armadas
Military flag of Portugal.svg
Military Standard of Portugal
Active 1950-1974 (SGDN);
1974– present (EMGFA)
Country Portugal
Branch Armed forces
Type Military staff
Part of Portuguese Armed Forces
Headquarters Lisbon
Motto Que quem quis sempre pôde
(That anyone who wanted always could)
Engagements Invasion of Goa
Portuguese Colonial War
Afghanistan War
Peacekeaping Missions
-Western Sahara
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces

General Artur Neves Pina Monteiro

The Armed Forces General Staff (Portuguese: Estado-Maior-General das Forças Armadas) or EMGFA, is the supreme military body of Portugal. It is responsible for the planning, the command and the control of the Portuguese Armed Forces.

EMGFA is headed by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (Portuguese: Chefe do Estado-Maior-General das Forças Armadas) or CEMGFA, the highest rank general in the Portuguese Armed Forces.


The present Armed Forces General Staff was created in 1950, as the Secretariat-General of National Defence (Portuguese: Secretariado-Geral da Defesa Nacional) or SGDN. The SGDN was the central planning organization of the Defense, being headed by the Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff, under the dependency of the minister of National Defense (both roles also being created at the same time). Besides having the role of secretary-general of the SGDN, the CEMGFA also assumed most of the responsibilities until then assigned to the military heads of the Navy and of the Army (the then existing service branches, as the Air Force would only be created in 1952). The creation of the SGDN and of the roles of CEMGFA and minister of National Defense marked the integration of the several military service branches and so the creation of the Armed Forces of Portugal as single organization

In 1969, it was decreed that SGDN should be remodeled in order to be transformed in the EMGFA, as the organization for the joint administration of the Armed Forces. However, transformation of the SGDN in to the EMGFA eventually occurred only in 1974.


The Armed Forces General Staff is integrated in the Portuguese Ministry of National Defence and includes:

  • The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA);
  • The Joint Staff (EMC, Estado-Maior Conjunto);
  • The Joint Operational Command (COC, Comando Operacional Conjunto);
  • The operational commands of the Azores and Madeira;
  • The commanders-in-chief that can be created under the CEMGFA, in times of war;
  • The Military Security and Information Center (CISMIL, Centro de Informações e Segurança Militares);
  • The general support organizations.

Under the dependency of the CEMGFA are also:

The Chief of the General Staff[edit]

The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces is the operacional commander of the Portuguese Armed Forces in times of peace. In times of war, he assumes the complete command of the Armed Forces. The CEMGFA is a general officer of one of the three branches of the Armed Forces (Navy, Army or Air Force), appointed by the President of the Portuguese Republic, by proposal of the Government of Portugal.

List of chiefs of the General Staff of the Armed Forces[edit]

  • Army general Aníbal César Valdês de Passos e Sousa - 1950 to 1951
  • Rear-admiral Manuel Ortins de Bettencourt - 1951 to 1955
  • Army general Júlio Carlos Alves Dias Botelho Moniz - 1955 to 1958
  • Army general José António da Rocha Beleza Ferraz - 1958 to 1961
  • Army general Manuel Gomes de Araújo - 1961 to 1962
  • Air Force general Venâncio Augusto Deslandes - 1968 to 1972
  • Army general Francisco da Costa Gomes - 1972 to 1974
  • Army general Joaquim da Luz Rocha - 1974
  • Army general Francisco da Costa Gomes - 1974 to 1976
  • Army general António dos Santos Ramalho Eanes - 1976 to 1981
  • Army general Nuno Viriato Tavares de Melo Egídio - 1981 to 1984
  • Air Force general José Lemos Ferreira - 1984 to 1989
  • Army general António da Silva Osório Soares Carneiro - 1989 to 1994
  • Admiral António Carlos Fuzeta da Ponte - 1994 to 1998
  • Army general Gabriel Augusto do Espírito Santo - 1998 to 2000
  • Air Force general Manuel José Alvarenga de Sousa Santos - 2000 to 2002
  • Admiral José Manuel Garcia Mendes Cabeçadas - 2002 to 2006
  • Army general Luís Valença Pinto - 2006 t0 2011
  • Air Force general Luís Evangelista Esteves Araújo - since 2011
  • Army General Artur Neves Pina Monteiro - 7 February 2014 to date[1]


  • RIBEIRO, António S., Organização Superior da Defesa Nacional, Prefácio, 2004

See also[edit]